Save the Last Dance (2001)

# 14969 IMDb PG-13 

Save the Last Dance (2001

taglineThe Only Person You Need To Be Is Yourself.

Director: Thomas Carter

Stars: Kerry Washington, Julia Stiles, Sean Patrick Thomas, Terry Kinney, Jennifer Echols

Drama, Music, Romance (1h 52min)


Rated 6.2 after 53,461 votes, 53% postive reviews on 19-Feb-19.

6 wins & 8 nominations


Sara wants to be a ballerina, but her dreams are cut short by the sudden death of her mother. She moves in with her father, who she has not seen for a long time. He lives on the other side of town, in a predominantly Black neighborhood. She gets transferred to a new school where she is one of the few White students there. She becomes friends with Chenille, and later, falls in love with Chenille's brother, Derek.


Thomas Carter (director) Julia Stiles Sean Patrick Thomas Kerry Washington Fredro Starr Terry Kinney Bianca Lawson

Julia Stiles (Sara), Sean Patrick Thomas (Derek), Kerry Washington (Chenille), Fredro Starr (Malakai), Terry Kinney (Roy), Bianca Lawson (Nikki), Vince Green (Snookie), Garland Whitt (Kenny), Elisabeth Oas (Diggy), Artel Great (Arvel (as Artel Jarod Walker)), Cory Stewart (Lip), Jennifer Anglin (Glynn), Dorothy Martin (Momma Dean), Kim Tlusty (Lindsay), Felicia Fields (Woman on Train), Ora Jones (Mrs. Gwynn), Tab Baker (Mr. Campbell), Kevin Reid (Wonk), Andrew Rothenberg (Stern Judge), Mekdes Bruk (Lakisha), Ronnie Ray (Stepps Slacker (as Ronald Ray)), Tai Davis (Tiffnee), Karimah Westbrook (Alyssa), Erica Hubbard (Jasmine), Richmond Talauega (Stepps Dancer), Whitney Powell (Toni), Brenda Pickleman (Older Disgusted Woman), Julie Greenberg (Gymnastics Teacher), Anna Paskevska (Ballet Instructor), Malaika Paul (Basketball Player), Jennifer Echols (Lavatory Girl), Ellie Weingardt (Ballet Judge's Assistant), Earl Manning (Hip Hop Dancer), Latisha Oliver (Hip Hop Dancer), Nefertiti Robinson (Hip Hop Dancer), Roland Tabor (Hip Hop Dancer (as Roland 'Ro Ro' Tabor)), Anthony Talauega (Hip Hop Dancer), Richard Whitebear (Hip Hop Dancer), Earl Wright (Hip Hop Dancer), Ariane Dolan (Ballet Dancer)...

From the same director


Duane Adler (story), Duane Adler (screenplay), Cheryl Edwards (screenplay)

Produced by

Marie Cantin (co-producer), Robert W. Cort (producer), Scarlett Lacey (associate producer), David Madden (producer), Douglas Curtis (co-producer (uncredited) / line producer (uncredited))



When Sara's mother is killed in a car accident she comes to live in a predominately black area in Chicago. She is befriended by black Chenille and starts to fall for her brother Derek. Derek teaches her the latest hip-hop dances to help her fit in and together they begin to fall for each other. However a white girl seeing a clever black man is never going to be popular and the couple must overcome many obstacles to see their dreams and be true to themselves.

Did someone say `a black Dirty Dancing?' Essentially that's what this is, although the story is naturally a bit more urban than that film. The story is about overcoming to reach your dreams, and it does it quite well – better than I expected. The love story is nice without being too romanticised. The obstacles are the usual things in an `urban' film – the challenge of mixed race relationships, the temptation to back up your crew instead of getting out etc. These are quite cliched but are still well done.

My main problem came with the strength of black culture in the film…not every black person (even in a poor area) talks like a gangsta…and not everyone says `aiiiirite' – and why did Sara only become accepted when she started to imitate black culture and speak in that way. It may be realistic, but I felt that Sara should have been allowed to be herself rather than be seen to be assimilated into the hip-hop culture (I don't mean that she shouldn't have got involved with the scene – but did she have to lose part of herself to get there?). However these are minor side issues that many people won't even think about.

The cast are good for MTV teens. Julia Stiles is cool and Thomas is cute and charming. The rest of the cast fall into so many black stereotypes – we have gangsta friend, baby mothers galore, useless baby father, jealous bitchy ex-girlfriends etc. However they are just what you expect so I wasn't too upset. Fredro Starr was cool as Malakai – even if the character was just one big hood cliché.

The soundtrack is hot and the dance scenes are sexy – I wish I could do it! They are much more enjoyable than Dirty Dancing's scenes – although some day this will feel dated too! Overall I expected another piece of MTV teen tat, but I was pleasantly surprised by a story that, despite being ridden with clichés, is actually very involving and enjoyable.

Memorable quotes

Sara: You know Snook, you talk a lot of shit for someone who never says anything.

38 total 


Director Thomas Carter cast Julia Stiles in the role of Sara after seeing her "table dance" in 10 Things I Hate About You (1999).

10 total 


6 wins & 8 nominations 
Black Reel Awards • Motion Picture Sound Editors, USA • MTV Movie + TV Awards • MTV Video Music Awards (VMA) • Teen Choice Awards • Young Hollywood Awards

Other titles

Pasión y baile (Argentina; Chile; Mexico) • Запази последния танц (Bulgaria (Bulgarian title)) • No Balanço do Amor (Brazil) • Née pour danser (Canada (French title)) • Save the Last Dance (Germany; Finland; France) • Espera al último baile (Spain) • Save the last dance - viimeinen tanssi (Finland (TV title)) • Fylaxe ton teleftaio horo (Greece (transliterated ISO-LATIN-1 title)) • Plešimo zajedno (Croatia) • Szívem érted rapes (Hungary) • W rytmie hip-hopu (Poland) • Ao Ritmo do Hip-Hop (Portugal) • În ritm de hip hop (Romania) • Zaplešimo zajedno (Serbia) • За мной последний танец (Russia) • Prihrani zadnji ples (Slovenia) • Bizim dansimiz (Turkey (Turkish title)) • El último baile (Venezuela)



Rated PG-13 for violence, sexual content, language and brief drug references


Argentina:13 / Australia:M / Canada:PG / Finland:K-11 / France:Tous publics / Germany:12 / Hong Kong:IIA / Hungary:14 / Iceland:L / Malaysia:U / Netherlands:12 / New Zealand:PG / Norway:11 / Peru:14 / Portugal:M/12 / Russia:12+ / Singapore:PG / Spain:T / Sweden:11 / Switzerland:10 / Switzerland:10 / United Kingdom:12 / United States:PG-13



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